COVID-19's Impact on Medical Treatment in Workers Compensation - A Third Quarter 2020 Perspective


This is the third in a series of articles addressing the impact of the pandemic on medical treatments in workers compensation (WC). The series relies on recent data reported to NCCI via the Medical Data Call in 41 jurisdictions. We observe medical indicators and trends at a national level. In conjunction with this publication, we are offering a user-interactive dashboard that delves into state-specific metrics that paint a first blush of the WC medical treatments in the corresponding jurisdictions.

NCCI is undertaking several activities to better understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the WC system. One action is monitoring Medical-data-related metrics which were developed to provide insight into the effect of COVID-19 on several aspects of the WC medical system. These metrics track quarterly results over time, allowing us to compare WC medical data before and after the onset of the pandemic. In this article we share some of the aggregated, multistate results for these metrics including data from the third quarter of 2020 (3Q20), based on transactions received through January 15, 2021. As data emerges, future updates to these metrics will be available on


  • Active claim volume in 3Q20 was below the 2019 levels, especially for new claims
  • Physician service intensity in 3Q20 appears to be reverting towards the 2019 levels
  • There continues to be no meaningful delays in time to initial treatment in 2020
  • After a leap to 14% in the share of claims with telemedicine services in 2Q20, telemedicine utilization took a step back in 3Q20, but remained significantly above the 2019 benchmarks
  • Drug share of medical costs and utilization of opioids changed direction in 3Q20, reversing previous increases
  • Hospitalization and intensive care unit use are key cost indicators of claims with COVID-19 treatments
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